SMYAL is excited to welcome Ameirah Neal as our new Peer Educucation Coordinator!
Ameirah joins us from HIPS, Helping Individual People Survive, where they work to assist at rick populations with health services and integration into society. We sat down with her and asked five questions to get to know her.
Why did you choose SMYAL?
I wanted to work at SMYAL is because I know how important it is to help and support LGBTQ youth and because of the issues that they face due to being queer. Being a transwomen of color I know firsthand how challenging life can be without the right support system. I want to use my voice to help improve the lives of others.
When you’re not at SMYAL what do you do?
I sleep and breathe art. If I’m not here at SMYAL you can find me drawing, painting, or designing. I enjoy creating beautiful pieces of artwork. It is what I like to call an escape from reality. Drawing is a form of therapy for me; it helps me to see the world in a way that I didn’t imagine.
Why is working with LGBTQ youth so important to you?
Working with LBGTQ youth is one of the most important areas of work that I have ever done in my life. I don’t just look at this as a job; to me this is a commit to the lives of the youth that we serve. When I was coming up as a transgender youth, there was no type of support within my community that allowed me to be who I was and to have a safe space doing so. I see the importance and impact that I have on the youth. For me it is important that the youth know that they have someone who understands and who has been in the same shoes as them.
What special quality do you bring to the SMYAL team?
The number one quality that I say I bring to SMYAL would be my positive energy. I feel that life is way too short for society to walk around with a sad face all the time. So I make it my point to make other staff members smile when I can.
What is your favorite TV show?
I would have to say my favorite TV show is Charmed. I know that this show doesn't come on TV anymore but that doesn’t mean that I love the show any less. When I was younger I would often daydream about being one of the “charmed ones.”